Feed Your Senses at Sense of Thai St.
When I lived in San Francisco, I frequented Chabaa, a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant that was my go-to place for pad thai and green curry, and maybe bottle of Singha. You expect to find authentic Thai food in metropolitan cities like San Francisco and New York City, but I found my new favorite spot for Thai food right here in Loudoun — and it’s no hole in the wall.
At Sense of Thai St. the mission is to capture your five senses — and it gets me as soon as I walk through the door. It’s high ceilings and open design designs the space. The trendy decor — like old-school movie posters, handmade pottery from the streets of Bangkok and lots of plants and herbs — gives the dining room a warm, inviting feeling.
My first stop is a consultation with Ross at the bar. He’s self-taught and a master at his craft, using exotic spices and herbs to compliment the flavors in the food.
Studying the cocktail menu and skimming the extensive liquor selection, leaves me struggling between the Bangkok mule or a fancy gin drink. After a few quick questions, Ross gets to work mixing Hendricks Gin, cucumber, and vanilla essence. Showing his sense of humor, he pours the drink into a dainty bird glass, with a swirl of Angostura bitters, a shake of spices, and a mint tail. This whimsical Yellow Bird cocktail hits the spot. One drink, three senses — herbal aroma, tasty, and so pretty!
Now, it’s time to order what I came here for — dinner. I’m impressed with the unique menu, presented on Thai street newspapers. The menu is plentiful and harmoniously brings together the traditional Thai flavors with fresh vegetables and textures you expect at high-end restaurant.
I start with the mango sticky rice served on a wooden, mango-shaped plate. The flavor is spot on with sweet ripe mangoes and savory toasted yellow bean seeds that give this dish a crunch I keep going back for.
Next, I dig my fork into Som Tum — vegetarian papaya salad. Perfect for a hot summer day, this dish presents contrasting flavors like tart green papayas and spicy lime sauce, topped with salty peanuts that bring the flavors together. But, man does it have a kick!
My true barometer to see if this could stand up to my SF haunt, Chabaa, was to try the pad thai. I took a risk and ordered the Chumphon Pad Thai.
The owners are from the Chumphon region is located in the Gulf of Thailand. Cuisine in this region is dominated by fresh seafood from fisherman catches every day. This pad thai is made with jumbo crab meat and shrimp, along with the other ingredients you’d expect to find in pad thai: bean sprouts, eggs and tamarind. But this dish offered more — another level of flavor with its coconut curry paste. Folks, we found a winner!
Sense of Thai St. delivers authentic Thai flavors, and completes your dining experience with great cocktails and a complete selection of wine and beer. That’s not something I ever found at any hole-in-the-wall in San Francisco, but am pleased to have found it here in Loudoun.
Sense of Thai St. is located in One Loudoun on 20143 Exchange St. in Ashburn, VA. Open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., when the restaurant transforms for late night dancing and socializing.